Mountains beneath the Moon

full moon
The moon across Cō̤-hāi I chased
The dream in Sĕ̤ng-hŭng I left

Written in my mother tongue on July 2017, the height of summer,
when the cicadas are chirping in my hometown

Translated into English in the evening of October 23, 2022,
when the sunset gilded the forest outside the balcony of my new home

Zuohai Park
Cō̤-hāi Park, where has many ancient Hokchew-style buildings

Cō̤-hāi (左海), which is written in Hokchew language (aka. Fuzhou dialect), my mother tongue, means the land to the left of the sea literally[Cō̤ (左) means left-side, and hāi (海) means sea.]. In East Asia, facing south and sitting north (dièu nàng sô̤i báe̤k, 朝南坐北) is said to be very prosperous and auspicious. Palaces and residences were built in this direction. Similarly, princes, dukes and aristocrats were usually sitting in the same direction to meet their subordinates and guests. For them, the east was on the left and the west on the right, as opposed to what we today call ‘to the left is west, to the right is east’ (cō̤ să̤ êu dĕ̤ng, 左西右東). So in ancient times, when people drew maps, they put the south on the top and the east on the left. Cō̤-hāi, the land to the left of the sea, means the land west of the sea in fact. And Hokchew (福州, aka. Fuzhou), my homeland, is such a city, on the western coast of the Taiwan Strait[Taiwan Strait was called Mìng-hāi (閩海), the sea of Hokkein (福建, aka. Fujian), in ancient time. Mìng (閩) means Hokkien.]. The name Cō̤-hāi also became an alias for Hokchew. A lake in Hokchew with a long history and surrounded by many famous monuments, also named as Cō̤-hāi.

Han characters '雙峯夢' (Sĕ̤ng-hŭng Máe̤ng) carved in Ŭ-săng (烏山), Hokchew
Sĕ̤ng-hŭng Máe̤ng (雙峯夢), a dream happened in Hokchew. Carved in Sĭk-tiĕng Nàng (石天南), Ŭ-săng (烏山), Hokchew
Sunset gilded the forest nearby my new home

Sĕ̤ng-hŭng (雙峯), written in Hokchew language, is the combined name of the two mountains[Sĕ̤ng (雙) means two, and hŭng (峯) means mountain.], Ŭ-săng (烏山) and Ṳ̆-săng (于山). Ŭ-săng[Ŭ (烏) means black, and săng (山) means mountain.], also called Ŭ-siŏh-săng (烏石山)[Siŏh (石) means rock.], means black-rock mountain literally. Many ancient buildings and cliff carvings have been left there. Ṳ̆-săng means the mountain of Ṳ̆. Ṳ̆, also called Ṳ̆-uŏk (于越), is the name of an indigenous ethnic group in Hokchew, later assimilated by the Han Chinese[The Han (漢) is the main ethnic group in China.]. In history, the 7th king of Hokkien (福建, aka. Fujian), Ù-cṳ̆ (also written as 無諸 by the people of Han), who has an aboriginal-style name, to honor the heroes who had defended the kingdom of Hokkien, has held a nine-day banquet there. So these two mountains are very important to Hokchew in a historical and cultural sense. And because of having these two mountains, Sĕ̤ng-hŭng became another alias for Hokchew. There was once a novel written in Hokchew language called Mìng-dŭ Biék Gé (閩都別記, literally means a collection of folk stories[Biék Gé (別記) means additional records to be added. In ancient China, the Han people recognized that legends and stories from the folklore are too absurd and unreasonable to be recorded in the official published books (huŏng-dáng bók gĭng, 荒誕不經) and be told in the hall of great elegance (Dâi-ngā cĭ dòng, 大雅之堂). There was once a book, Mìng-dŭ Gé (閩都記), is a record of the official history and geography of Hokchew. So the author of Mìng-dŭ Biék Gé imitated the name Mìng-dŭ Gé to record the folk tales and stories handed down orally from generation to generation which could not be told in offical history.] of the capital of Hokkien[Hokchew also has an alias called Mìng-dŭ (閩都), the capital of Mìng (閩). Mìng means Hokkien.]). This novel is also known as Sĕ̤ng-hŭng Máe̤ng (雙峯夢), a dream happened in Sĕ̤ng-hŭng[Máe̤ng (夢) means dream.].

Written late at night on 25 October 2022

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